The class tree for shamans offers plenty of situational utility, lots of defensive options with very little mandatory talents that improve throughput.
The mandatory talents that will improve your throughput are:
- Frost Shock is an old staple and is a must have most builds since they use Icefury.
- Fire And Ice is very self explanatory, more fire and frost damage.
- Nature’s Fury to get an extra 4% crit chance on Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Earth Shock and Elemental Blast.
- Spiritwalker’s Grace to be able to continually cast while being forced to move during encounters, absolutely essential to maximize dps uptime.
- Graceful Spirit, a straight up improvement to Spiritwalker’s Grace, reducing its cooldown and giving you increased movement speed during the effect.
- Nature’s Swiftness, an instant Lightning bolt, Chain Lightning or Elemental Blast every minute . This does not work on Stormkeeper since Stormkeeper itself isn’t considered a “damaging Nature spell”.
Defensive talents that you want to take:
- Astral Shift, our defensive cooldown, now with a longer cooldown of 2 minutes and shorter duration of 8 seconds.
- Planes Traveler is a great improvement to Astral Shift to bring the cooldown down to 1.5 minutes.
- Astral Bulwark is the alternative choice to Planes Traveler and could see use on encounters where you only need to use Astral Shift every 2 minutes.
- Earth Elemental has retained part of the conduit that increased our maximum health while it’s active, the amount has however been reduced to 15% which still makes it a very worthwhile pickup. It is worth noting that unfortunately with Primal Elementalist the Primal Earth Elemental no longer provides the Harden Skin ability which has been removed from the game.
- Ancestral Defense for some passive Leech and Avoidance.
- Elemental Warding. A very solid talent that reduces the magic damage we take which is normally the vast majority of damage taken in both dungeons and raids.
- Nature’s Guardian is now a talent that we no longer have to sacrifice in order to provide Wind Rush Totem to the raid. This automatic emergency heal is great in every situation.
- Brimming with Life is basically a second stamina buff and when it inevitably has to be used it will be ready much faster than normal.
- Ancestral Guidance, a solid healing cooldown.
- Mana Spring is not really a defensive talent but it provides a significant amount of mana to your healers in the raid. 100 mana to four healers per Lava Burst adds up very fast. This effect doesn’t stack so if you have multiple shamans only one needs to use this.
- Gust of Wind is thankfully back and helps with burst mobility to not have to spend unnecessary time in Ghost Wolf.
- Go with the Flow to reduce the cooldown on Gust of Wind by 10 seconds. These are likely the first points to drop if more utility is needed.
- Thunderous Paws puts Ghost Wolf to a 65% movement speed increase for a short while. A solution for when Gust of Wind is either on cooldown or it’s not enough to cover the required distance. A general goal is always to spend as little time as possible in Ghost Wolf, but having the time in the form being faster is a lot better.
- Wind Rush Totem has been nerfed to 40% movement speed and is now strictly worse than Stampeding Roar from Druids. The upside is that we can now move it if needed with Totemic Projection and even reset the cooldown with Totemic Recall.
Taking all of this and the talents on the way makes our tree look like this:
This leaves us with 5 points to take the utility that we need for a certain boss or dungeon. Some notable talents being:
- Capacitor Totem for an AoE stun with either Guardian’s Cudgel or Static Charge to improve it.
- Cleanse Spirit if there are curses that have to be removed.
- Tremor Totem to prevent any fear, charm or sleep.
- Hex if you need to keep a target cc’d for a long period of time.
- Thundershock to make your Thunderstorm an AoE CC without the detrimental knockback.
- Poison Cleansing Totem to remove potential poisons.
- Totemic Recall with Call of the Elements to reset your most recently cast totems cooldown, should always be taken if playing Liquid Magma Totem.
- Earth Shield does decent healing but requires a lot of points to be able to make it worthwhile, can be recast in fights if there’s movement without any instants available.
- Stoneskin Totem is rather underwhelming as it only affects a total of five players and only reduces physical damage by 10% it’s an extremely niche and underwhelming ability.
Then there’s Maelstrom Weapon, a talent that is technically a DPS increase if there is no downside to being in melee range of the boss. You will be melee attacking between instant casts and have the chance to generate Maelstrom Weapon charges, reducing the cast time of your next cast by 20%. This dps gain is extremely minor and should only be taken when there’s an encounter where you’re in melee range of the boss anyways. If Maelstrom Weapon is taken, Flurry should also be picked up.
A lot of experienced Elemental players will recognize most of these talents as abilities, legendaries or mechanics the specialization has had in the past, but now with access to more of them at once than ever before.
Let’s start with going over the talents that make all the following builds work.
Elemental Fury - This makes our crits do more damage than they do for other classes. For example an ability that would normally do 10k crits for double damage, 20k. Instead with this talent the crit will deal 25k.
Fire Elemental - An underwhelming 2.5 minute cooldown that does less than 2% of your damage in single target. The bigger benefit it provides is that while it is active it makes your Flame Shocks tick 33% faster which means more potential Lava Surges. It also makes any new Flame Shocks that you apply last for twice as long meaning they have to be refreshed less often and makes it easier to maintain more of them in AoE.
Storm Elemental - The other choice instead of Fire Elemental, equally underwhelming even if it does a bit more damage than the Fire Elemental. Instead of providing benefits to Flame Shock, Storm Elemental grants a stacking buff every time you cast Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning during its 30 second duration, reducing their cast time by 3% per stack, up to 30%. This is actually not a bad buff once stacked, especially in an AoE build that’s centered around casting a ton of Chain Lightning.
Flow of Power - Increases the Maelstrom generation of Lava Burst from 10 to 12, its overload from 4 to 5, Lightning Bolt from 8 to 10 and its overload from 3 to 4. This might not sound like a lot but is a very significant amount of Maelstrom generated throughout an encounter, generating enough for several extra casts of either Earth Shock, Earthquake or Elemental Blast.
Echo of the Elements - Provides a second charge to Lava Burst which improves the cooldown management of it by a lot. If you for example were to gain a Lava Surge proc while there was only 2 seconds cooldown left on Lava Burst you not only get a charge back and an instant cast, you will still get another charge in 2 seconds meaning that the proc was worth the full 8 seconds of cooldown and not just 2.
Flames of the Cauldron - Cooldown reduction and faster tick rate for Flame Shock means more potential Lava Surges and easier multi-dotting.
Improved Flametongue Weapon - 5% fire damage increase, this affects Lava Burst, Flame Shock, Lava Beam (replaces Chain Lightning during Ascendance) and Elemental Blast. This requires you to keep Flametongue Weapon applied to your weapon and means you can’t use a weapon oil, weapon enchants still work just fine.
Unrelenting Calamity - A massive cast time reduction to Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning as well as a ~17% damage increase to Earthquake under the assumption that the enemy stays in it for the full 7 seconds.
Stormkeeper - An incredible ability that you could potentially pick not just once, but twice. It does wonders in both single target and AoE situations. The guaranteed overload means it doesn’t benefit from mastery (Mastery: Elemental Overload) as it can’t overload another time from it. When used with Chain Lightning it creates an overload for every target hit, meaning a cast that hits 5 targets then triggers 5 overloads all hitting 5 times each for a total of 30 hits from a single cast of Chain Lightning. When used with Lightning Bolt any and all overloads retain the 150% more damage buff that Stormkeeper grants.
Swelling Maelstrom - Changes the maelstrom cap from 100 to 150, making it less likely to waste maelstrom from big overloads in AoE and gives you a bigger timeframe to use your spenders, especially Elemental Blast as it has a much higher cost than Earth Shock and Earthquake.
Eye of the Storm - Reducing the cost of your spenders by a total of 20% has a lot of beneficial interactions with other talents that we’ll get to later in the list.
Power of the Maelstrom - These additional overloads are in addition to the potential overload from mastery meaning a Lightning Bolt can overload twice. This even works with Stormkeeper and the second overload retains the damage buff.
Master of the Elements - After Lava Burst our next spell that isn’t Lava Burst, Flame Shock or Lava Beam does 20% more damage. What spells you use this on is a little bit dependent on the talent build but in general this is always prioritized for spenders such as Earth Shock, Earthquake and Elemental Blast.
Icefury - This has been made far easier to play with in Dragonflight with the duration of the buff changing from 15 to 25 seconds. It also generates a solid 25 maelstrom with the chance to overload for an additional 12. It now also comes with a choice of two different talents that makes the buffed Frost Shock have additional effects.
Electrified Shocks - Makes the Icefury buffed Frost Shocks hit a total of 4 targets and then also make them all take 15% extra nature damage. This applies to Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Earth Shock and Elemental Blast; it does not benefit the damage that Storm Elemental deals. Even if Frost Shock hits 4 targets it still only generates 14 maelstrom.
Flux Melting - 20% increased damage to the next Lava Burst after a Icefury buffed Frost Shock. This buff is currently consumed both on cast and on hit, meaning that I can buff the same Lava Burst twice if cast both before and instantly after the Lava Burst, before it hits, resulting in a 44% damage increase.
Aftershock - Chance to refund the cost of a maelstrom spender, essentially making the cast free.
Surge of Power - An alternative talent to Aftershock. This talent has a lot of different interactions, but the most important ones are the additional overloads for Lightning Bolt and the additional target for Chain Lightning. Flame Shock hitting another target can be useful in getting as many Flame Shocks up and running as soon as possible in AoE. The Lava Burst reducing the cooldown on Fire or Storm Elemental is underwhelming while the Frost Shock root has no real application for PvE. The additional overloads that this buff grants to Lightning Bolt are in addition to the one from mastery and retain the damage of Stormkeeper. If a Stormkeeper Chain Lightning is used with this buff it hits 6 targets and then proceeds to create 6 overloads each hitting 6 targets for a total of 42 hits instead of the regular 30 hits it does without Surge of Power, a 40% damage increase.
Elemental Equilibrium - This can only trigger every 30 seconds and it only starts recording damage types after this time has elapsed. Elemental Blast triggers this on its own as it deals all three types of damage.
Magma Chamber - Lava Shock in a new, much less impressive form that can still be upwards of a 60% damage increase on spenders if enough Flame Shocks are active. The majority of the time this doesn’t go past 5 stacks on single target.
Searing Flames - Can generate a surprising amount of maelstrom, especially if it’s possible to maintain more than one Flame Shock.
Echoes of the Great Sundering - With this talent you always want to alternate either Earth Shock or Elemental Blast with Earthquake, except for single target with Elemental Blast where you ignore this talent and just cast Elemental Blast.
Echo Chamber - With two points in this it brings the overload damage up from 85% of the cast to 100%, which means that the overloads do identical damage to the actual cast.
Mountains Will Fall - Makes it possible for spenders to also trigger overloads, albeit at half damage.
Elemental Blast - A replacement to Earth Shock with the downsides of it costing more maelstrom and having a cast time. The upsides is that it deals much more damage as well as providing one of three buffs; 6% Haste, 6% Crit or 11% Mastery. Overloads from Elemental Blast will also give one of these buffs.
Lightning Rod - Makes 20% any damage you deal with Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning and Lava Beam to also be dealt to the debuffed target. You can have multiple Lightning Rods at once and should therefore change your target after every Earth Shock, Earthquake or Elemental Blast.
Primal Elementalist - Grants Immolate and Meteor to the fire elemental while giving Tempest to the Storm Elemental. Tempest should only ever be cast after the Storm Elemental has casted Call Lightning.
Liquid Magma Totem - Being able to apply 3 Flame Shocks at once is very useful in AoE and removes the need to wait for several Flame Shock cooldowns before being able to use Primordial Wave. The cooldown on this totem can be reset with Totemic Recall and it’s possible to have two active at the same time, it doesn’t let you bypass the limit of 6 Flame Shocks however.
Windspeaker’s Lava Resurgence - The best legendary of Shadowlands making a return but at a slightly nerfed state, providing a 10% damage buff to the next Lava Burst rather than the 20% that the legendary gave, still an incredible talent that generates a massive amount of predictable Lava Surges.
Skybreaker’s Fiery Demise - Alternative talent to Windspeaker’s. The crit chance increase is by 50 percentage points, meaning that if you have 10% crit chance normally, Flame Shock will have a 60% chance to crit.
Ascendance - Lava Beam works the same way as Chain Lightning and will also hit 6 targets when cast with Surge of Power, it will however not stack or benefit from the Wind Gust buff from Storm Elemental.
Deeply Rooted Elements - This 7% chance is only from actual Lava Burst casts and not from overloads, additional Lava Bursts generated by Primordial Wave or the ones generated from the proc of Deeply Rooted Elements itself. Casting Lava Burst while in Ascendance can still trigger this proc, extending the duration and generating the additional Lava Bursts at every target with Flame Shock and refreshing the duration of said debuff.
Oath of the Far Seer - Brings Ascendance down to a much more reasonable 2 minute cooldown.
Further Beyond - The gambling enthusiasts choice when combined with Deeply Rooted Elements. While it is technically possible to stay in Ascendance forever with procs from Deeply Rooted Elements and extending the duration with Further Beyond it has extremely high variance and from one pull to another you can spend 10% or 90% of the fight with Ascendance active.
Primordial Wave - The only covenant ability that Elemental got to keep, it still functions exactly the same, refreshing Flame Shock on the target and shooting an additional Lava Burst at every target affected by Flame Shock, including the main one. The chance to reset the cooldown that the conduit Tumbling Waves provided is no longer possible.
Rolling Magma - Instead of the chance to reset the cooldown we instead get the much better option of a reliable way to reduce the cooldown on Primordial Wave. This reduces the cooldown by as much as 50% on single target and even more in cleave.
Primordial Surge - An extremely powerful talent that generates an obscene amount of Lava Surges allowing for basically every other global to be an instant Lava Burst with a big 25% damage buff for a whole 12 seconds.And with an average cooldown of 23-30 seconds on Primordial Wave thanks to Rolling Magma this buff has close to a 50% uptime, generating far more Lava Surges than any other source.
Amirdrassil Tier Set: Single Target
A build that is all about Lava Burst and overloads.
Amirdrassil Tier Set: Cleave
Amirdrassil Tier Set: AoE/Mythic+
Since Lava Burst is still being cast at higher target counts with the new tier, Windspeaker’s Lava Resurgence helps generate more Lava Surges and is an essential talent to not do awful single target damage.
Aberrus Tier Set: Single Target
This is the build I’d recommend for every single boss in the Aberrus the Shadowed Crucible Raid, apart from Zaqali where either the Cleave or AoE builds are superior.
Windspeaker’s Lava Resurgence might seem like an odd choice in this build but without natural Lava Surges, this allows us to take advantage of Master of Elements for each Elemental Blast, and the alternatives are not that good.
Aberrus Tier Set: Cleave
The only change this build has from the single target build is that it drops Elemental Equilibrium for Echoes of the Great Sundering improving its AoE further while only suffering minor single target throughput loss.
Aberrus Tier Set: AoE/Mythic+
The loss in single target damage is only around 15% for a massive AoE increase thanks to Echoes of the Great Sundering.